Somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, hundreds of people seeking a better life joined the thousands before them in a watery grave.
It's a sober reminder of the leaps and bounds people take to try and escape an impossible situation in their own country by finding prosperity in another. A more relatable statistic is the 6,000 immigrants estimated to have died while traveling through Central America and Mexico to reach the United States.
The necessity to take such drastic action is often based on geography, but there are also man-made obstacles in the form of immigration policies. These policies are put in place for good reasons, mainly to keep the population safe and to protect the economy from receiving a drastic shock to the system.
But it's also clear these policies have created humanitarian issues, as a side-effect. This has brought about groups asking for open borders, arguing that it only improves the economy while eliminating the issues caused by heavy regulation of immigration.
Their arguments are not without merit. After all, the United States had a very open immigration policy throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Irish, Polish, Italian, Eastern European and immigrants from almost every imaginable background flooded in and helped drive forward the new, industrial economy.
What's more, these immigrants weren't hiding in the shadows. Though it didn't come without opposition, they established themselves in neighborhoods and boroughs in U.S. cities that are now famously recognized. In essence, they became part of the American fabric.
Undoubtedly, times have changed. There is no industrial revolution, though there are clearly jobs to be had. Otherwise, workers wouldn't be coming here.
And of course, the immigration issue now is different. Instead of coming over in boats where ports make it easier to manage an influx of people, immigrants are coming across a vast space of land where the U.S. meets Mexico.
The response has been to try and close the border, through both border defenses and U.S. immigration policy alterations. In the 1970s, the amount of visas allowed for Mexican immigrants was capped to 20,000 annually, a number that is now viewed as drastically low compared to the current need.
This has created a situation where visas are at a premium, with an application cost to match. So people risk their lives to somehow attain a dream move to America because they can't afford it in the first place.
This all sounds like I'd be a fan of simply throwing open the borders, like they have done in the European Union. But let's not be naive. Border regulation keeps us safe and allows us better control of our economic future.
The answer for me is not an open border, but basically a more welcome one. Making it easier for people to come into the country, begin working and paying their fair share will help us to differentiate between those who want to be part of society and the bad people that simply want to cause mayhem.
The biggest argument against a country strong-arming its way into a closed border is evident in the thousands who have lost their lives attempting to cross them. No matter how hard a country may try, it cannot prevent people from attempting to come there in search of a better life.
They're willing to risk it all.